Samsung's largely clean ‘Slate'


Staff member

It's easy to mistake the Samsung Series Slate for a Tablet and draw comparisons accordingly, but a tablet it is not.

The entire setup features an 11.6" slate screen (with a Wacom enabled pen stylus), custom dock and a keyboard. The Slate, in true tablet fashion, is all screen on the front with a single button that fires up Samsung's custom tablet software.

On the left side is the micro HDMI, power adaptor, volume rocker, headphone/mic jack and USB port while the right features a screen orientation lock and power button; the top has a built in mic and microSD slot with the dock connector at the bottom. The connectivity features on this device will tell you it is a full PC. And just like one, it features a fan with vents that starts up with high activity; something that is unheard of (pun intended) with tablets.

Weighing in at just under a kilo and with a thickness of 13mm, the Slate is slim. Holding it in portrait mode can get taxing after a while but it sits in your hand surprisingly well in landscape mode. Its 11.6-inch display features a 1366 x 768 resolution and offers excellent viewing angles. The stylus works really well and simply hovering over the screen will move the cursor around, tapping it will give you the click effect. While Windows 7 supports touch input, the operating system isn't really optimised for it. The default on-screen keyboard is the most obvious example as the default setting doesn't occupy the entire screen and it's easier to tap with a stylus than it is to type on screen. On the other hand, handwriting recognition works very well with Windows. With Windows 8 on the horizon, the Slate PC has the potential to become easier to use. In the meantime, Samsung provides its own touch-optimised overlay which starts by pressing the lone button on the front. The overlay/launcher is more finger touch-friendly than the operating system and features a dashboard and over 20 apps.

The docks holds the Slate in landscape mode and lets you connect the Bluetooth keyboard to it as well as an Ethernet connection, full HDMI port, a second USB connection and a headphone jack. The dock really is what makes the Slate a PC. The keyboard is full-sized and fairly light, with chiclet-style keys and like all Samsung keyboards, it is a pleasure to type on.

There is a camera at the rear of the device with a 3 megapixel sensor but it is not one to talk about. The pictures taken are weak and it's likely your smartphone will take better shots.

The internals are solid on this one — Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD Drive — and it is no slouch in terms of performance. A direct victim of this is the battery life. You can look to get about 4ish hours of battery life — decent for a laptop, not so good for a tablet.

The Series 7 Slate PC is very much a hybrid, designed to be used both as a PC and a tablet. While it performs well as the former, it isn't quite up to the mark as the latter with battery life and OS to be blamed.

Still, priced at Dh4,999, the Slate costs slightly more than an Ultrabook and gives you touch capabilities and the choice to use it as a Tablet, albeit for a short while.

Bhavishya Kanjhan is a digital marketing professional and an early adopter of all things digital. Follow his tweets on @bhavishya
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